Jul 3, 2018
"The Social Life of the Gombak river"
"The Social Life of Kemensah river"
First of all many thanks to Mr. Kamal Solhaimi Fadzil for such a great observant and supporting our teenagers in this video documentary project.
They learn to put together a lengthy documentary on a complex issue. They learn skills-editing video, photographs, and audio material. They learn to write a voice over script. They learn to fly and take videos with a drone! They put their skills taught on conducting interviews by conducting their own real-life interviews! They trudge through different forested areas from Ulu Gombak, ulu Kemensah, Ulu Yam, Kuala Kubu Baru, Sg. Batu, Kuala Selangor, etc. The saw the source of rivers as well as different river confluence. They saw these river features in the forests as well as those already taken over by Development-for example the confluence of the Gombak into the Klang river and the Batu river into the Gombak river. They may have read a lot to grow in their understanding of riverine ecology and human interaction but they when a couple of steps further... They visited what they read and saw it in person. Nothing beats a good outdoor education. Of course, they learn to do all these in English and Bahasa Malaysia. It was a lesson in producing a documentary, in learning geography outdoors but it was also about learning how to speak English. At the heart of our outdoor lessons have always been about learning to communicate in English and instilling confidence.
The lessons they learned from the Tok Batin in Gombak about the history of his people, the forest plants, and the other skills taught by Major (retd.) Kalam and Rahman... And of course that hauntingly beautiful nose flute also by Rahman. The first hand lesson on KL history from Prof Khoo and of course lessons on river ecology and the human impact on rivers taught by experts in the field whose knowledge of the area (Gombak and Klang river) is equally matched with their passion for rehabilitation and conservation-the likes of Satish, Khali, Amirul, Azlin and Pasu. Just the experience of talking to these people who are part of iconic environmental and educational institutions in Malaysia itself is priceless - the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Global Environmental Centre (GEC), Eco-Knight, University Malaya (UM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
And, of course, while not in the Klang Valley, Serina Rahman and Kelab Alami in Johor also taught them loads on environmental conservation and the whole real-life experience of walking in mangrove forest, on a sandbar and seeing seagrasses and all that which lives there! (remember also the first lesson on seagrasses and corals in 2015 at UM by Jillian Ooi and Effendi?)
The second is everything else, submitting to a competition, etc..
But all these were made possible with guidance and mentoring especially from the teachers- Mathavi Nadarajah Thevar and Aisyah Thiri. And, support from YCK and its funders. And, of course, individuals such as the van drivers who doubled up as chaperones to help take care of the students in the field, the security guard who took care of them in the centre and Kakak who always looks out for the students. You have a wonderful team there. That's the real lesson. Effective teamwork relies on maturity and genuine concern for the other. They are all that and more.